I can see where the victims of those criminal priests are coming from: in many other jurisdictions, the local "Head Office" of the Catholic Church has seen to it that young men in similar circumstances are compensated for the abuse perpetrated on them. Sometimes, this has been in jurisdictions where financial compensation for pain and suffering is taken into account by the legal system, while on other occasions, the attitude was taken that compensation was morally due.

Here, on the other hand, the attitude has been taken that there is no legal obligation to make reparation, so no payments will be made. The law, the Curia has said, is on its side, and that's the end of it. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the powers that be that law and morality don't always lie four-square with each other in circumstances such as this, and relying on Caesar's law to avoid adopting a higher standard of behaviour is not on.

The danger lying in the young men's efforts to get compensation is obvious: by insisting on monetary recompense, they might risk being perceived as gold-diggers rather than victims, losing public sympathy in the meantime. I suspect that the latter aspect of the danger is not one that worries them particularly, because it is not for public sympathy that they pressed on with their criminal action.

The perception that they are in it for the money is, anyway, one that is facile and shallow in the extreme. In the real world, the only way anyone can make amends for a wrong-doing is either to put things back the way they were or to pay damages. This particular harm cannot be wronged by reversion to the status quo, so the only way left is for cheques, preferably large ones, to be written. It might look mercenary, but it's the only way, so if anyone is tempted to look down their noses at these men, they should resist: they deserve don't it.

These men deserve nothing but compassion and if this compassion has to be translated into euro, then so be it.

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